The $100,000 approved at the last Manatee County commission meeting is for CareNet, a Crisis Pregnancy Center and Solve, a faith-based (Christian) nonprofit that provides cost-free housing and support for pregnant women. The League of Women Voters of Manatee County does not support funding these agencies with tax dollars. Please read why.
1. Should Manatee County Tax Dollars Support a Crisis Pregnancy Center?
In order to understand this issue more, we recommend reviewing this article from the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, by Amy G. Bryant, MD, MSCR and Jonas J. Swartz, MD, MPH, entitled “Why Crisis Pregnancy Centers are Legal but Unethical”. The AMA Journal of Ethics is peer-reviewed and exists to help students and health care professionals navigate ethical decisions in service to patients and society.
The article in the Journal of Ethics found many flaws with the Crisis Pregnancy Programs (CPC), such as those below:
- Unlike other clinical health centers, Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not subject to medical ethics or rules. They are exempt from regulatory, licensure, and credentialing oversight that apply to health care facilities.
- Lay volunteers who are not licensed clinicians at CPCs often wear white coats and see women in exam rooms, giving a false appearance.
- The religious ideology of CPCs takes priority over the health and well-being of the women seeking care at these centers. Specifically, women do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options.
- Although crisis pregnancy centers enjoy First Amendment rights protections, their propagation of misinformation should be regarded as an ethical violation that undermines women’s health.
- CPCs often target low-income women and women of color, adolescents, and women with less formal education. By impeding access to abortion through delays, expense, or other tactics, CPCs may propagate racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities.
- CPCs have received criticism from lawmakers, physicians, scholars, and reproductive rights organizations for many of their practices. They strive to appear as sites offering clinical services and unbiased advice, but their only goal is to prevent abortions.
- From a public health standpoint, these centers endanger women by misinterpreting and misrepresenting medical evidence. States and counties implicitly endorse these centers when they provide support for them. Women are put in a difficult position when they have to navigate a perplexing landscape: abortion is safe and legal in every state, yet some states support and promote centers that provide inaccurate information on abortion.
These centers are not required nor held accountable to meet the standard of patient-centered, quality medical care, and our county should not provide taxpayer dollars to fund them.
2. Should Manatee County Tax Dollars Support Solve Maternity Homes?
- Solve is very open about their Christian faith and goal to bring women to it. It could possibly be required for a woman to be Christian if she accepts their residency. It appears a woman with a Jewish, Moslem, or Hindu faith or an atheist would be pressured to convert if not outright denied their services.
- Is Manatee County going to support pregnant women and their babies medical expenses and housing if they do not go to Solve?
- Support of these women only lasts 6 weeks after the child is born unless the woman is approved for further schooling.
- Manatee County Department of Health and the State Department of Health provide support, with our tax dollars, to pregnant women and their children through Neighborhood Services, Healthy Start and WIC.
There are many troubling aspects with using tax dollars to fund an agency that may only provide services for women of a specific religion and the precedent it sets. The County does contract with other agencies, such as the One Stop Center, to provide social services. The League does not support tax dollars going any organization that discriminates. There must also be proper evaluations and outcomes defined before contacting, not just a donation on request.
Ask the commissioners, especially the 5 who voted to approve funding (Commissioners Satcher, Baugh, Van Ostenbridge, Kruse and Bellamy), to reconsider funding any crisis pregnancy center.